I'm in the process of using them... already approved and gathering the documents required to finalize things. So far, it looks pretty good. In a comparison between this loan and the BoA Maximizer loan, understand that one determines their rates based on LIBOR (BoA) and one on Prime (SM). On the surface the rates might seem very different, but when you look at the current LIBOR and current Prime rates, they are almost on par with one another. BoA might beat SM by 1/2% on the rate but their origination fees are insanely high in comparison... of course, it's all credit-based.
If you have any specific questions, just PM me. I hope to finalize the loan early next week.
I wanted to update this thread with some new comments...
SM's Tuition Answer Loan is going to end up as the one I will avoid. There have been delays in my application and very poor (and often contradictory) communication from them.
I should mention I have excellent credit and over a 12-year credit history, so there are zero problems in my app to hold it up so long.
Perhaps the most uncomfortable thing for me is how I felt talking to them on the phone... and it took many phone calls and each person gave a slightly different answer. The next person I talked to contradicted the previous person... and it went on and on like this. And let me tell you how tough it is to get a hold of the supervisor... I STILL didn't talk to one. I've dealt with a lot of creditors-- mortgages, other loans, etc etc and never talked to one who seemed so fargin' clueless. It will be amusing if they call me on Monday (supposedly the supervisor will "call me" within 2-3 days)... eh? Wonderful customer service, guys.
Then, I see the link to the 60 Minutes expose about SM on another thread and investigate it a bit more. OK, so now I am really uncomfortable using them... given their seeming ineptitude on the phone and via email plus this report from only this past May. I had been going on the Sallie Mae of my memory (the old one-- which was a non-profit/gov't -sponsored institution) and didn't realize it was different now.
OK, so my immense apologies to anyone I may have recommended them... I know I said it seems good on paper and the terms were sligthly better than BoA as far as origination fee and max amount you can borrow, etc. And, really, maybe they'll work out just perfectly for many people.
And this is the time I should mention that they are probably fine if you never encounter hardship and have any repayment issues (the 60 Minutes bit was on their cruel and unusual repayment and default terms-- they are royally screwing some students). They seem to be totally unwilling to work with their borrowers during any hardship. I don't plan on having any issues (since I've never made a late payment in my life) but you never know... poopoo happens. So this combined with my phone interactions and bizarre delays have made me back off and go with BoA and their lower interest rate but higher origination fee.
OK, I didn't intend this to seem like a rant but I wanted to provide enough info to warn some people that they should be cautious about using SM for the "extra" borrowing. And if their regular loan services are as inept as the Tuition Answer group, I would steer clear completely. If anyone has questions just PM me. I don't want this thread to get out of hand and become a mud-slinging contest (although I have a handful of mud for SM I wish I could mail them)!!